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Romford History

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The Romford Residents Association Constitution

Where Romford once resided

Marshalls Park Residents’ Association was formed at a meeting held in May 1989, mainly because it was an area that was so well-off that, paradoxically, it was neglected!

The local Conservative Councillors (neither of whom lived in the ward) were so sure of their seats that they didn’t feel they had to do anything for the residents. As it was the area had parking problems, litter problems, the threat of infilling on vacant sites and generally concern about the impact of Romford Centre night-life on the environment.

The first Annual General Meeting was in that September, but before then the R A had organized a protest about parking in Marshalls Park Upper School; had got a van habitually parked in North Street moved; got street repairs in Seymer Road carried out; and acotched a rumour that the Town Hall was to be further extended. At that first AGM Douglas Cresswell of Havering Drive was elected Chairman, with Elliott Porte as his Deputy; Ian Wilkes of Park Drive became Secretary and Keith Penfold of The Chase was Treasurer. Membership Secretary was Valerie Evans of Park End Road and the General Committee had ten further members. At that time the Association had 150 households in membership.

Other matters dealt with in those early days included opposing helicopter landings on the roof of the BAC building in Eastern venue; trying to get the children’s play area in Raphael Park up-graded; complaints about thoughtless parking of parents collecting children from St Edward’s and St Peter’s Schools; and asking for the closure of the centre gap on the A12 at Park Boulevard. By May 1990 our membership had risen to 332.

Our biggest job in the following 12 months was to restore the tennis courts in Havering Drive, owned – but not used – by Marshalls Park School. By agreement with the School the Association paid for protective fencing and organized new nets and, after six months’ hard work, were able to open the restored courts for public use.

A topic that occupied us through 1993 was a Labour proposal to transfer the Central Library to the Dolphin site: this we vigorously opposed, eventually gathering 9,959 signatures on a petition that forced a climb down by the Council Leader Arthur Latham. At this time we extended the boundaries of the Association and renamed it the Marshalls and Gidea Park Residents’ Association. We had just under 700 member households.

In 1994 Valerie Evans and Ian Wilkes stood against Conservative and Labour and, to the Association’s delight, won Gidea Park Ward – the first time a non-Conservative had represented the area since Havering was formed.

By 1996 the MGPRA was helping a newly-formed Rise Park Residents’ Association to get off the ground, little thinking that Rise Park and two-thirds of Marshalls and Gidea Park would be amalgamated into Pettits Ward in 2001.

The Romford Residents’ Association will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2009 – by raising its subscription to £1.50, the first rise since we were established!


There has probably been a settlement on the trackway to the east of England near the ford over the Merche-dych (now the River Rom) from the earliest times, but it was first recorded in 55 A.D, when its name was Durolitum, a camp for the Roman army en route from Londinium to Caesaromagnus (Chelmsford). The site of Durolitum is unknown, but it was possibly at Hare Street, Gidea Park.

Until 1247, when a Market was founded in Romford, the town was of little significance, being a hamlet under the influence of the Royal Palaces at Havering-atte-Bower on the one hand and of Hornchurch and the Parish Church of St Andrews, although a Chapel of Ease was built in 1177, on a site near the present Homebase in Oldchurch Road.

The Market was established between the two major manufacturing settlements of Hornchurch, renowned for its leather-tanning industry and Collier Row, where charcoal was produced from the woods of Essex. The Market prospered and expanded to embrace cattle, sheep and pig markets and local farm produce, particularly rhubarb - much prized for its curative properties - and many inns were built in the town.

When the Liberty of Havering was formed in 1465 the seat of local government was the Court House at the crossroads of the London Road and the north/south route from Havering to Hornchurch. Its successor was demolished in 1933.
Among memorable residents over the years were Sir Athony Cooke (of Gidea Hall, tutor to the children of Henry VIII), Francis Quarles (the Cavalier poet), Carew Mildmay (a Parliamentarian General), Thomas Blood (who tried to steal the Crown Jewels), John Laurie (who tried to establish the first Garden Village, but failed), and Hugh McIntosh (of Marshalls House and Havering Park).

Two commercial enterprises that came to the town were the Brewery, established in 1799 at the Star Inn, by the bridge in High Street and, much later, the Roneo office equipment factory at Havering Wells.

The sleepy market town was transformed with the coming of the railway in 1839 and within 50 years became the largest town in the region.

Today’s Romford is part of Greater London as the London Borough of Havering and is largely a commuter town cut off from its historic roots in Essex.

Development of housing, chain stores, and light industry continues apace and much effort is needed to stop the town losing its identity.

Local Government

The Local Government Act 1894 created the Romford Urban District of Essex, which covered what is today the core of the town. From 1894 to 1934 Romford Rural District covered a vast area surrounding, but not including, Romford itself. In 1934, after increasing urbanisation of the area, the rural district was abolished and the urban district expanded. In 1937 the expanded district gained further status as the Municipal Borough of Romford. [3]        In 1965 the municipal borough was abolished by the London Government Act 1963 and its former area was transferred to Greater London to form part of the present-day London Borough of Havering.


Romford is part of the Havering and Redbridge London Assembly constituency. The present MP for the Romford constituency is Andrew Rosindell, a native of the town.


Romford railway station is on the Great Eastern Main Line and is served by regular stopping, and occasionally fast, services to Liverpool Street in the City. Romford is a hub on the London Bus network with services to Canning Town, Stratford, Leytonstone and Dagenham as well as feeder services from the large housing developments which surround it such as Collier Row and Harold Hill. [6] The trunk A12 passes to the north of Romford while the A118 from Stratford connects with it at Gallows Corner and the start of the A127.


The name of the Association shall be the Romford Town Residents' Association.

2a To encourage the residents in the area to join together to try to maintain and improve the amenities in the Romford Town ward of the London Borough of Havering.
2b To keep under constant survey all forms of public service and to take such action as may be necessary to secure improvements.
2c To give help and advice to residents in all matters connected with these objectives.
2d To organise social events for the benefit of members, any profits from which shall be returned to the general funds of the Association.
2e To pursue any legitimate means by which the above objectives may be achieved.
2f The Association shall be non sectarian and non-party political.

3a Membership shall be open to all residents in the ward.
3b The annual subscription shall be determined at the Annual General Meeting for the year ahead and shall become due on 1st January each year.
3c The subscription shall cover one household.

4a The Honorary Officers of the Association shall be Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Treasurer, Secretary, Membership Secretary and Social Secretary.
4b Further members can be elected to the Committee in numbers to be determined at the Annual Meeting.
4c Seven members, including two Officers and two Committee members, shall form a quorum.
4d The Committee is empowered to make decisions and to take appropriate action on behalf of members arising under Rule 2.
4e The Committee shall have power to co opt and appoint from its members such sub-committees as it may deem necessary.
4f The Committee shall have the power to adjudicate on any matters not covered in these Rules.
4g Officers and committee members shall be elected at the Annual Meeting and can stand for re election.
4h No member of a Committee of any national party political organisation shall be eligible for election to the committee and no elected Member of Parliament or Councillor or prospective Councillor shall attend meetings unless specifically invited.
4i Meetings of the Committee shall be held monthly, except August, and be open to any resident, although only elected Officers and Committee members shall be eligible to vote.
4j Members of the Committee who attend fewer than six meetings during the course of a year shall not be eligible for re-election for the following year, unless special circumstances have prevented such attendance.
4k The Association will be affiliated to Romford Residents Association and shall be eligible to send representatives to meetings in numbers to be decided by the R R A.

5a The Annual General Meeting shall be held each year at such time and place as shall be determined by the Committee for which twenty one days' notice shall be given.

5b The business of the meeting shall be to elect officers and committee for the ensuing year, to submit accounts for the year and to receive the report of the officers and committee for the previous year.
5c Only elected members of the existing Officers and Committee shall be eligible to vote.
5d Nominations for officers shall be submitted to the Secretary at least seven days prior to the Meeting.
5e Notices of motions relating to the alterations of these Rules should be submitted to the Secretary at least fourteen days prior to the meeting.

6a The Chairman can call a Special General Meeting if he/she considers it essential.
6b The Secretary shall call a Special General Meeting on the written request of not less than twenty-five members.
6c The business of the meeting shall be restricted to the items detailed in the written request.
6d Only elected members of the existing Officers and Committee shall be eligible to vote.

7a An independent examiner shall be elected annually.

8a In the event of the dissolution of the Association by majority vote at a Special General Meeting any remaining funds shall be passed to a body within the London Borough of Havering with like aims and objects to be held in trust until such time that a similar Association is again set up for residents of the area.

9a Any matters not covered by these Rules shall be dealt with by the Committee and reported to the next Annual Meeting.